In The Blink Of An Eye

Unstoppable they called her, but I saw her stop

I saw her stop many many times

Sometimes I thought she had stopped for good

but no, she always found a way to resurrect

To rise again

Not the same, never the same

Each time a little more determined, and a little less vulnerable

Unstoppable they said, but I think it was in the stopping

that she found her power.

– Donna Ashworth

A very dear friend sent me this just this morning, it seemed kind of perfect to sit down and write this update today. I know it’s been a while since I’ve arrived in your inbox, and for many good reasons.

Life hands us challenges that sometimes we feel are insurmountable and impossible to see our way through – when the path gets a wee bit blurry. We can lose sight of the strength we contain, the ability to rise, as well as the way we are being held in seen and unseen ways.

It’s been hard for me to get on here, and to write this.  But I have been feeling a strong call to connect – and perhaps depending on your life circumstances offer you the reminder that you to are not alone.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions and medical procedures – which continue in the coming week.  I’m still processing the fact that I had spinal surgery, never mind the additional diagnosis of cancer – in the blink of an eye, our lives can change and do change, remember that.  I very suddenly started losing the ability to walk (interestingly the day my eldest son and I sat with an owl in the cedar grove – whispering wisdom of slowing down). My body had also been speaking to me in quiet and loud ways over the past few months. October 5th I was admitted to hospital and underwent emergency spinal surgery for a tumor in my spinal canal, on the spinal cord from T7 to T11.  

The tumor that took up residence in my spinal canal was found to have malignant cells and they were unable to remove the whole tumor in surgery – due to its location it was partially inoperable.

In the meantime, I rest in this liminal space, protective of quiet time and connecting deeply with what is being asked of me in this healing. I am sooo grateful to recover from step one here in the forest.  

Relearning to walk, supporting my spine as the bones mend and the dura heals, healing mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually – while at the same time building my reserves for next steps.

My family and I are keeping pretty quiet, this is needed right now for so many reasons – my deepest need is to cocoon.  I have been viscerally reminded of how fragile and truly precious life is – In many ways I’m only now just realizing how truly precious and sacred life is.

An unexpected turn on the path, one that will only bring greater strength and compassion.  Perhaps a forced sabbatical, finding my own way on this life journey.

I wonder what helps you to rise when you fall – perhaps that’s a person, or a place. Make a list, right now if you can – written or in your mind, what helps you rise when you fall?

With so much love and respect, ’till next time

Amber

gray owl perched on a tree stamp
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Transitions

It always amazes me, how there seems to be a quickening of the summer as we approach mid-August. I wonder what this time in cycle is like for you?

I feel lots of movement, it’s like this inherent knowing that soon we’ll be back in the routines of fall. Deep inside there seems to awaken this urge to clear space, get my hands in the dirt and reassess.

I’m a mother of 2 young boys, my summers are filled with MUCH less structure and a very different energy, which I love, but feel it deep in my bones when I know that our routines will once again be shifting. The summer offers a welcome disruption and break in routines, which has the potential to give us a little more clarity.

This time of year I also seem to notice that whatever was left neglected in the spring seems to raise a red flag of needing to be acknowledged, well or ignoring I suppose is another option – but while easy, ignoring doesn’t make it go away.

Self care seeds for the fall begin to whisper as well, we change with the seasons, remember to give yourself permission to check in with how your self care needs perhaps are asking for a shift as well. This is super important to reassess throughout the year.

I strongly believe that everything we need to thrive is available to us through the gifts of the earth, including witnessing the wisdom in the changes around us through the seasons. This requires deep listening and patience. This year I seem to be even more aware of this truth, and intend to welcome in more space for quiet time in nature, simply listening, and reconnecting – I know this is sometimes easier to say than experientially do. I’m personally setting this intention pretty solidly. I know in my heart this teaches us to live with a little more flow and harmony, and this is certainly something I welcome. 

white petaled tree during daytime

With lots of love on your wellness journey

Amber

I’ll be teaching a few outdoor classes over the next few months.

This Thursday night from 5:30 – 6:30 pm under the oak in Almonte (contact: undertheoakyoga@gmail.com)

Saturday morning we’ll be joining in the forest with our sacred gong from 9:00 – 10:30 am up near Clayton (this class is presently full).

Through September I’ll be offering a sound and yoga forest immersion Thursday mornings from 10:00 – 11:15 am, and to honour the transition from Summer to fall, October 1st I have a day retreat of self love and self care at Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre (our day retreat is full, but I am starting a list for a spring retreat).

These offerings feed my soul, and are part of my responsibility to help support folks to come back into balance and remember our relationship with our breath and our Mother Earth.

To find out more or to join me send an email to amber@suryadaya.ca

My next online offering of Because You Matter starts Monday, October 17th, you can find out more details here.

For those of you who have inquired about massage therapy, my bookings for the fall are almost full. I practice at Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre Tuesdays, and do home visits / mobile sessions Wed – Friday. I do have a waiting list, and am focusing my care on complex care, breast health, and palliative care. Email me at amber@suryadaya.ca if you’d like more information.

The Wise And Well Voice Within

There will never be a voice outside of you that is wiser than your soul-voice or holds more authority over what is best for you.  You need guidance and support not to follow someone else’s truth but to remain loyal to your own.  The voice that will guide you to your highest potential is within you.

– Meggan Watterson

This quote gives me goosebumps, and every part of me shouts YES! I’m about to take a wee technology break (which I am SO excited about), however I couldn’t do that until sending this post. These words strongly wanted to be shared and I am guessing that’s because at least one of you needed to hear them.

I didn’t grow up learning to listen to that voice, did you? But I am learning, and I am also learning the spectrum of reasons where much of the guidance I did receive was rooted from. I hold it all with compassion.

Finally now, in this chapter of my life, I know this truth deep in my heart. I hope I can teach my children to start here, within themselves, to trust their intuition and the wisdom they hold deep inside.

You are a wise being and you have come here in this body, for your own unique reasons. Sometimes we have to move through the muck and the entanglement of vines, the darkness and the obstacles, to live our way into those reasons – I am understanding this is part of what it means to be human.

Listen with compassion, first to your self. I believe the more we can do that, remembering our humanness, the more easefully we can dance this ebb and flow of life.

I won’t be online much for the next few weeks, taking some needed time to reconnect with the Earth, our great Mother.

Know I hold you in my heart,

With Love, Amber

xo

Soul Wisdom Self Reflection cards, a little extra heart centered support on your journey.

August teaching:

I’m so excited to be teaching Under the Oak (in Almonte, Ontario) from 5:30 – 6:30, on Thursday, August 18th – email them directly for more details and to register: undertheoakyoga@gmail.com This is a weekly class held throughout the summer. Lindsey and Alex are dear friends, and hold this weekly space, I’m honoured to join them!

 Saturday, August 20th, from 9 – 10:30 I have a special forest yoga planned! Space is limited. If you’d like more details send me an email at amber@suryadaya.ca. 

September and October bring a 4 week forest series, the return of in person/zoom classes, and a day wellness retreat held at Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre. Lots of soul nourishing offerings to support you to connect with the earth, your sacred heartspace, and the wise and well voice within.

Soul Wisdom Self Reflection cards, a little extra heart centered support on your journey.

Solstice Blessings To You

Happy Summer Solstice Blessings !!

A time we celebrate the light, our inner fire, the obstacles we’ve overcome, our community, our power, our gardens as they grow, all the animals emerging, and we commit to taking steps to nourish ourselves and one another. 

Summer Solstice is a time we also honour the tilting of the earth wrapping us in the longest day of sunlight of our solar calendar year.  We move through the cycles of seasons and witness our own rhythms as they ebb and flow. 

I feel like over the past few years we’ve been reminded in numerous ways to not live with regrets, because wow, the unexpected can occur at any moment. 

Did you know that taking some time to; move your body – moving energy through you and also sitting in stillness and quiet on a daily basis, without any distractions, offers the potential for a greater sense of ease and clarity on your life journey. This feels important, for each of us. This little reprieve of movement and breath, even for a few minutes, brings you more deeply into the presence and reality of your life in this moment, and an awareness of what’s actually important to YOU. First however, we need to commit to our self care to have the space to hear that guidance. 

I invite you to light a candle today, and honour your connection to the light.  Move your beautiful body, and breathe a little deeper. Get your hands and feet in the dirt, and honour your connection to the earth. Honour YOUR strength. Honour the goodness inside of you, and the impact you bring forward with your actions – especially the seemingly small acts of kindness. 

Happy Solstice, from my heart to yours,

With love

Amber

Do you want to practice together? My next series (both in person and virtually) starts July 9th. You can see my schedule (and find out more details) here

Soul Wisdom Self Reflection cards, a little extra support on your journey.

How do we show up with our whole selves?

As we deepen our relationship with our self care, we consciously start to  respect that our physical body is the medium we move our gifts through and out into the world.  We need to tend to our physical needs on a daily basis so that we’re able to do what we do in the world – and that is considering our creativity, our passions, our personal pleasures, the ways we’re in service to the earth and the greater collective, as well as our professional, working and personal life responsibilities. When we cultivate more balance in our lives and care for ourselves emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, our inner and outer worlds begin to easefully move into alignment.

Consider how you can stay true to your inner world as you move in the outer world, it is common for folks to shift and change depending on the company they keep – can you be true to your authentic self always? I’m beginning to realize the responsibility we actually have to show up, fully as ourselves in all situations.

Historically, and even now in our present day world, simply being who you are and speaking your truth is certainly not always easy. Moving in an authentic way has led people to bullying, persecution, isolation, ridicule, loss of family, loss of home, and even death – I know this continues seen and unseen, in small and largescale ways. This reality is heartbreaking, and I know we all carry the wounds of our ancestors and of the collective. How do we cultivate more acceptance and understanding of one another to do our part in helping to break these patterns? This is much bigger than we can dive into in this offering, but definitely a pause for reflection. It’s easy to say “just show up, be who you are” – but this is so layered, and it’s important to not bypass the layers.

It takes courage to be true to who you are now, and to stand up for what is meaningful. As we learn to step more fully into ourselves in a grounded way, we to help to heal the past. What needs to change in your external reality to fully honour who you are now, perhaps starting in small ways to step more deeply into your truth.

In your practice today I invite you to explore cat/cow in your body. A seemingly simple movement which holds within it so much potential on our healing journey.  Anatomically this movement is important as it allows the nourishment of cerebralspinal fluid to support the integrity of your nervous system, it helps to maintain flexibility through your spine as well as fluidity in your body – supporting the nerves as they make their journey through your body, and moving in a conscious gentle way will help to decompress your vertebrae.  

Cat cow can also help to release deep seated restrictions in your muscular body, which supports a greater sense of freedom internally. This movement is also energizing, and helps to release congestion and create deep internal space coming into a greater place of balance.  Cat cow invites us to connect with the waters of our bodies, as we move through the wave along our central canal. The more we can find fluidity and space inside and connect to our core – the easier it is to move with authenticity in this life journey.

If you’re working with a journal, I encourage you to grab it before you begin.  Take a few moments in silent observation and simply note the areas of your body you’re holding a little tighter, perhaps experiencing physical discomfort.  When you attune to these parts of you, what are the thoughts or memories that arise?  How can you offer them compassion?

When you move through cat cow, either on hands and knees starting in table top, or in a seated position with your hands on your thighs or shins – we want to initiate the movement from our sacrum (the bone at the base of the spine), moving very slow and subtly to begin – vertebrae by vertebrae – a slight movement forward on the inhale as we create space around the heart, and a gentle movement arching back as we create space between the vertebrae. Staying mindful moving vertebrae by vertebrae, like beads along a mala. Move with the fluidity of water, avoiding hard edges and compression with this movement, but rather welcoming in softness and space – and to learn to listen to what our body holds. Honour the power in the smaller, slower, more subtle movements, this is often when we feel the most profound effects in our practice.

I encourage you to reflect on how you’re feeling after spending some time moving through this exploration.

Please know my support is here, holding you in my heart.

I am grateful you are taking this time to care for your self.

I am grateful for the wisdom of your body, and mine.

I am grateful for the fluid that surrounds and nourishes my brain and my spinal chord, and that I know how to tend to it to support myself – through breath and movement.

I ask you now, what are you grateful for??

Sending you so much love

Amber

close up photo of white petaled flowers

Enrollment is now open for our upcoming fall session of Because You Matter, to find out more details click here

Taking 3 Sacred Breaths

Time in silence has been calling loudly – but rather with the intention to simply listen and bear witness. How often do we do that for ourselves and for others? Sit in silence and bear witness.

I have been teaching alot these days, both online and community classes, immersed in hands on healing sessions, as well moving with 2 groups of incredible and inspiring women through my because you matter women’s health program. It feels good to have this time now, to sit with all of you with a little more spaciousness.

How are you doing? Take a moment and offer yourself this window to check in. I urge you to not modify your answer, or change it to a more desirable response – this is for you – how are you doing in this moment? If we don’t give ourselves regular little check – ins, we contribute to a quicker potential break down.

Sometimes I find it helpful to simply take a few minutes and move through 3 deep breaths. Meggan Watterson offers us a reminder as we breath into our bodies with our first breath, landing into the physical. Our second breath anchors us into our heartspace – connecting to this well of compassion that lives inside each of us, and the deeper authentic parts of you. With our third breath we can ask our question – how am I, this will bring forth a more accurate account of how you’re actually doing, the answer your soul needs you to hear.

I recently came across a beautiful piece in Embers, by Richard Wagamese, which also speaks to this importance.

Me: You always repeat things three times.

Old Woman: Just the important things.

Me: Why? I hear you the first time.

Old Woman: No. You listen the first time. You hear the second time. And you feel the third time.

Me: I don’t get it.

Old Woman: When you listen, you become aware. That’s for your head. When you hear, you awaken. That’s for your heart. When you feel it becomes a part of you. That’s for your spirit. Three times. It’s so you can learn to listen with your whole being. That’s how you learn.

When we come to our breath and awareness with our whole being we support a full and authentic life – that’s a good thing, and that’s the point. Sometimes we spend so much time trying to please others that we don’t even know what the authentic voice that lives inside of us sounds like anymore.

Carving out windows to take 3 intentional breaths is so incredibly important – whenever you remember.

Teaching because you matter has a deep undercurrent of understanding our breast health but it became clear through these past few months, how it’s a program with an even deeper intention to remind us of all the parts of us that are deserving of care and loving attention. Taking those 3 sacred breaths as we settle into our bodies, holds so much potential. The more we can learn about ourselves grounded in compassion, the more we’re able to offer ourselves the care we truly need – and the less likely we are to overstretch ourselves in ways that aren’t supportive. Such a powerful journey, and I am so grateful to the openness of the folks that moved through this first offering with me. I hold the laughter, movement, introspection, tears, deep breaths, sacred stories, and holding safe space for one another so dearly in my heart. Still taking lots of time to reflect and integrate everything I learnt through the process.

This past weekend I said goodbye to the sweetest soul, and as I lay beside him on the grass with the sun shining, witnessing, as he took his last 3 breaths, I was deeply impacted by the reminder of the importance of those 3 breaths. We have a limited amount of time here, in this body, I urge you to listen and to live with your whole being, and know you are very loved.

Before I close, I wanted to share a video with my sweet Solomon. I looked through to find a wee session with Sol and found this shorter practice, made in February of 2021 (so please bear in mind it was from a while ago). A short 10 minute mindful meditation practice, supported with Solomon. Many of you knew him, he was in our family for 16 years, and was the most cuddliest loving cat. I’m grateful for all he taught me, and all he brought to our family.

To all of those we’ve loved, and the threads woven through our lives,

Much love, Amber

xo

Do you want to practice together? You can see my schedule (and find our more details) here.

Soul Wisdom Self Reflection cards, a little extra support on your journey.

Spring Blessings

This time of year supports us to awaken, as we witness the signs of life all around us.

I love the transitional seasons, I find they are a welcome pause for integration, they help me find my footing and allow a gentle and reflective return to my centre.

Spring embraces the earth waking from months of hibernation, her long winter slumber. Spring is a time of planting new seeds and weaving new threads as we move towards the fullness of summer. In the depth of winter, we’re given the opportunity to look inwards and to honour the healing months of cocooning – and if we choose, to build our inner resources. When we live with the cycles around us, we begin to learn, deep in our cells, how important the winter rest is.

For many however, the pace doesn’t stop, which can feel really depleting and the spring may emerge as a wish for a little more time to rest. Honour your process, whatever it feels like.

Sending you lots of support and love filled wishes for your wellness as we welcome in the warmer weather, and witness the beauty of springs unfurling all around us. I am so grateful for good health as my own body heals from covid, perhaps a little more needed rest time before my own reemergence.

I love the feeling of the Earth waking, and the feel of the soft breeze on my skin enlivening my senses. Closing my eyes and hearing the bubbling of streams, the peeper frogs, the gentle fluttering of butterfly wings, and birdsong. Spring truly is a magical time of year.  

Amidst so much pain and turmoil in the world, we need to pause and remember this miracle of life. Sometimes that’s hard to do.

In this moment, I notice my own breath begin to deepen. In this moment I am choosing to feel into the natural world and all of life emerging once again, just for this moment, cherishing this breath – even amidst all of it, with hope in my heart for our future.  Life is precious, I wonder, can you hold yourself and one another with kindness and love in these changing times.

Let yourself emerge anew, honouring the past few years and the ways you’ve grown – or perhaps the ways it is asking you to care for yourself NOW.  

To view my latest newsletter click here

Yours in wellness, with so much love

Amber

shallow focus photography of bird
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Wisdom Within

Sometimes we come to yoga simply for the physical benefits, let’s be honest the physical potential within our practice is amazing. We flush our organs, stretch our muscles, lubricate our joints, increase our thoracic capacity, support our full body oxygenation, we strengthen and lengthen, support our hormone health and our lymphatic system – this is only a small list of the potentiality of your practice.

Over time we may get to know our bodies better, by listening to the sensations our bodies send us as we move through our practice. When we really tune in, we realize our practice also has the potential to positively affect our mental and emotional health. We may start to feel more at home inside of ourselves, and more responsive to life rather than reactionary. Yoga, and mindful movement, can offer us another way to experience ourselves in the context of our lives.

As we come to our mats, part of what we may begin to seek is this beautiful invitation for transformation, as we notice the limiting memories and stories we often tend to carry and the ability to learn from them, honour them, perhaps put some down, and create new imprints that instead serve our inner growth.

Our lives consist of a constant series of integrating, taking in, letting go, learning and evolution – well, if we give ourselves permission.

With greater awareness and practice, we are able to begin to recognize and discern past associations that we hold in our bodies as constriction, but we also begin to notice the stories our bodies hold that are in fact expansive and empowering. When we feel safe and supported, our bodies hold such potential as we learn to follow our inherent wisdom and the guidance we’re offered through our physical knowing.

This reflection brings to mind the work of; Candace Pert and her pivotal work in Molecules of Emotion, Peter Levine and his groundbreaking work with Trauma and the Body, Jon Kabat-Zin who changed my life with his work with mindfulness and the body, and Bessel Van Der Kolk in his incredible gift to us The Body Keeps The Score. I am grateful for these works, and countless others, the list is endless.

In yoga, mindful movement, and hands on therapy, we understand that memory isn’t only in the mind. Our bodies, like our minds, hold the imprints of past physical, emotional and psychological experiences – both positive and negative, joyful and traumatic.

The body, when guided with compassion and kindness, also has the intelligence and wisdom to free us from the stories and the experiences we don’t need to carry anymore. Through gentle asana, movement, and compassionate hands on healing work, we have the potential to create space inside of ourselves and welcome in new imprints that support us, rather than hold us back.

Take some time this week to come to your mat, or find a quiet place outside. Perhaps move a little slower, breathe a little deeper, and listen a little more closely to what the wisdom of your body has to offer you. You may want to take some time to write in your journal.

I offer you this reflection with the hopes that you will become more aware of the parts of you that perhaps need some extra compassion and love. I also hope you’re able to become more aware of those places inside of you where you do feel expansive, where your breath flows easefully unobstructed, and where you carry the sacred seeds of potentiality within.

May you move with a gentle heart, and kindness, not only on your mat – but also as you travel through your days.

Love Amber

xo

Do you want to practice together? You can see my schedule (and find our more details) here.

Learn more about Because You Matter, a beautiful 6 week journey into your breast health and whole body wellness. Click here for more information. My next offering starts in October, 2022.

Soul Wisdom Self Reflection cards, a little extra support on your journey.

Through Kindness And Compassion

I like to think that the feminization of yoga starts with the premise that we are all perfect just the way we are.  The transformation comes not in our hips and bellies, but in our attitudes about them as we learn to let go of (and thus be liberated from) society’s dictates.  We start on our yoga mats, but we take these concepts off the mat and into our daily lives – we learn to see ourselves as we really are, without judgement, and embrace the power we have to enact change through kindness and compassion.

Linda Sparrows

I’m just working on the handouts for my Because You Matter 6 week program, and I came across this quote – this is why I love yoga, and why it is an anchor for me. It’s true, if we’re able to come to ourselves with acceptance and kindness, we start to support change in the world around us simply by coming into coherence with this energy. It’s not about the physical changes or the “appearances”, it’s about how we feel inside – it’s about how deep we allow our breath to travel and how kind and gentle we can be with ourselves. It’s about being okay with making mistakes and softening our expectations, especially around ourselves.

I’m learning alot about the human condition these days, and feeling, often overwhelming waves of compassion and sometimes deep sadness. I’m choosing to allow those emotions to fuel my actions in the world. I’ve been reflecting a little more on what I can do to support myself to thrive and understanding that this is where the ripples for the greater collective start.

I offer you a short and very sweet breath practice to join me in today, only if it resonates. A little video to help to support the release of blockages inside of you, and to bring you into a place of calm, peace, compassion, and love. This practice can also potentially help to relieve anger and stress, and can be very calming for your nervous system. This pranayama (or breath practice) is called Bumblebee breath, you may be familiar with it by it’s traditional Sanskrit name, Brahmari breath. The sustained exhale that happens naturally in this practice supports the relaxation response for our whole body wellness. The toning we bring in, attunes us to the vibration of the heart.

Making your self care a top priority is important, as we’re all – yes, that includes you, processing alot right now. I sense that if your actions are grounded in kindness – that you are in alignment with what the world needs more of right now……..

Sending you love as you journey through your days,

Amber

Do you want to practice together? You can see my schedule (and find our more details) here.

Learn more about Because You Matter, a beautiful 6 week journey into your breast health and whole body wellness. Click here for more information. My next offering starts in March of this year.

Soul Wisdom Self Reflection cards, a little extra support on your journey.

It’s Up To You

Remove the obstacle of what you think you know about yourself and give yourself permission to discover who you really are, now, in this breath, in this chapter of your life.

I feel these last weeks of winter are urging us to embrace the quiet moments of reflection before we transition into Spring. Slowly, well for us here in Ontario, winters ice will begin to break up – the week we’re moving through is definitely requiring a slower rhythm with ice covered roads and snow once again falling outside my window.

As we prepare for this transitional time, I wonder if you’re able to consider where your energy may be blocked, what patterns keep coming up and what can and will you do about them.

You see the good thing about blockages, stress and stagnation is that they have the ability and potential to move through us – the hard part – is the responsibility to invoke change lays in your hands – noone can do that for you.

Did you know that by simply taking a big deep breath you’re already moving things through you, encouraging inner nourishment, space and movement – by a simple full deep breath.

Think about the ways YOU move YOUR energy. Now, go one step further – write them down, and even one step further – pick one and do it – right now ! You are capable of so much more than you think, and your body is here to help you find equilibrium and if properly supported bring you to homeostasis.

Sometimes it may not feel that way, but if we give ourselves opportunities to thrive we actually do. The opportunities I’m talking about here start with the simple ones really, but often the first we neglect – you know daily doses of enough hydration, proper oxygenation (through supportive breath rhythms), sunshine, walking through supportive doors, and the most important – love.

So what are you going to do today? The choice is up to you.

With so much love, and support on your journey

Amber

xo

Do you want to practice together? You can see my schedule (and find our more details) here.

Learn more about Because You Matter, a beautiful 6 week journey into your breast health and whole body wellness. Click here for more information. My next offering starts in March of this year.

Soul Wisdom Self Reflection cards, a little extra support on your journey.